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Thursday News, February 6

Le Mars Fire And Rescue Respond To 35 Calls In January

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has issued its monthly report for January, and Fire Chief Dave Schipper calls it a busy start to the new year.  The fire and rescue squad responded to 35 calls in January.  The breakdown includes seven fire calls, six rescue calls, 14 investigations, twice the Le Mars Fire Department were called to offer mutual aid, once to Merrill, and the other time to Orange City.  The fire department had six requests for services.  During the month of January, the fire and rescue department conducted 12 inspections, and cordinated 26 meetings and programs.


20th Annual Ag Luncheon Scheduled For March 19th 

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its 20th Annual Agri-Business Luncheon on Wednesday, March 19, at the Le Mars Convention Center, upper level.
Beginning at 9:30am the Plymouth County Farm Bureau will sponsor the Chamber coffee at the Convention Center.   The morning program, willl start at 10:30, and will feature Dr. Steven D. Johnson, Farm & Ag Business Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach.
The presentation of the “Outstanding Service to Agriculture” award will be presented.
The featured speaker at noon will be Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. Tickets are only $10.  To get your tickets or for more information, contact the Chamber office, 546-8821.


Auditions For "An Evening Of Culture" Scheduled For Wednesday & Thursday

(Le Mars) -- Auditions for the next production for the Le Mars Postal Playhouse Community Theater are scheduled for Wednesday, February 12th and Thursday, February 13th.  "An Evening of Culture", a play by Mark Landon Smith will be featured.  It's a comedy about a community theater producing Romeo and Juliet.  However, the cast members don't have their lines memorized, the set isn't finished, and a dog keeps barking offstage.  Never-the-less, they intend to go on with the production.  The play features five men of various ages, and three women of various ages.  Scripts are available for checkout, but must be returned.  Margaret Britton will be directing the play.  If you have an interest in auditioning, or want more information, you can contact Margaret Britton at 540-7503.  Performance dates are tentatively scheduled for late March and early April.


Sanborn Refuses To Obey State Ombudsman's Request

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The northwest Iowa town of Sanborn apparently has opted not to change course after drawing scrutiny for allegedly flouting state rules mandating gender balance on boards and commissions.
     Because there is no penalty for breaking those rules, it appears the Sanborn Electric and Telecommunications Utility Board will remain a boys club.
     The city was contacted by the Iowa Ombudsman's office in October after the Sanborn City Council chose to disregard a female candidate for the three-member utility board. They reappointed a longstanding board member instead, meaning the panel remained all-male.
     According to a letter Ombudsman Ruth Cooperrider sent to the Sanborn mayor and City Council members this week, the town did not take any of her suggested corrective actions. She expressed frustration, but said this would be her final communication.


Judge Tells Branstad To Re-open Girls Juvenile Home

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A district court judge has ordered the state to reopen the Iowa Juvenile Home, telling Gov. Terry Branstad he cannot change laws enacted by the Legislature and pointedly telling the executive branch of state government it "cannot unilaterally decide which laws to obey and which laws it will not."
     Judge Scott Rosenberg ordered the state on Wednesday to reopen the home in Toledo and use funds the Legislature approved to operate it.
     Branstad closed the facility in January following allegations that teens were improperly treated and denied a proper education. 
     Four Democrats, two from the Senate and two from the House, sued Branstad to keep the home open.
     The 21 girls who had been living at the home now live elsewhere.


Legislative Panel Votes To Abandon Remote Abortions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A legislative panel approved a measure that would ban the remote distribution of abortion pills to pregnant women in Iowa. 
     A subcommittee voted two-to-one Wednesday to prohibit the use of webcams or teleconferencing as a means of dispensing abortion-inducing drugs to patients in remote locations. The two Republicans vote in favor and the one Democrat was opposed. The bill moves to the House Human Resources Committee. 
     The bill would require that women seeking an abortion must be in the presence of a physician when receiving the pills.   
     Democratic Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschall, of Ames, says such legislation would create a challenge for rural Iowans with limited access to physicians.
     Republican Rep. Matt Windschitl, who sponsors the bill, says more women might consider carrying out a pregnancy without immediate access.


New Superintendent Selected To Operate Mental Health Facility

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new superintendent has been named to run a state facility in Clarinda that treats individuals with serious mental illness.
     Kris Weitzell has been the acting superintendent of the Clarinda Treatment Complex since Jan. 2 when the previous administrator Mark Lund retired. She had been named acting deputy superintendent in September 2013.
     Her appointment as superintendent was announced Wednesday by Iowa Department of Human Services Director Chuck Palmer and Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin.
     Weitzell has worked in the Iowa Department of Corrections since 1982 and started her career as a correctional officer at Mitchellville. She rose through the ranks to become deputy warden at the prison in Newton prior to taking a job at the department's central office.


Groups Needed To Help Feed Students During Summer Months

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are looking for groups to sponsor a site for a meal program that feeds students who may go hungry during the summer.
     The state Department of Education says the Summer Food Service Program provides healthy meals and snacks to children in low-income neighborhoods through the summer.
     Officials say the program currently reaches less than 10 percent of the more than 195,000 Iowa students who qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches during the school year.
     The program is federally funded, but sponsors can help offset operational and administrative expenses. Participation involves a group providing a staff, supervision and distribution. Sponsors can include public or private nonprofit schools, colleges and universities. Local, municipal, county and other government entities are also encouraged to participate.












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